Say What You Want… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Say What You Want...


This image was created at Morro Bay with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 360mm) and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 250. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/5.6 in Tv mode.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF and pan upwards. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Say What You Want

After a great afternoon with the gulls and a bathing Marbled Godwit up the coast a bit the fog rolled in. We went out on the beach near Morro Rock and explored a variety of creative techniques. Many from the Canon group were really into learning about zoom blurs, vertical pan blurs, and multiple exposures.

I really like this one. What is it? What was going on?

Good Night

Good night. Sleep tight. artie

25 comments to Say What You Want…

  • Not only I like this very much, but I am quite jealous because it is not mine. When I saw it I thought “people”. This, after some thought. Very arty and the simplicity grabs me. As well as the colours. Reminds me to try and think out of the box more.

    I like your work, Sir. Very much. It moves and inspires me – which is all that matters.

    Warmest regards,


  • avatar SharonHallowell

    When do we find out what this is!?

  • avatar SharonHallowell

    I like it! And since ur on a beach in CA, I’ll guess surfboards!

  • Looks like a line-up of people standing on the shoreline with a reflection-shot with a 1/6 sec. vertical blur on a tripod. Whatever it is it is cool and would make a nice large print!

  • avatar Jim Amato

    Arthur, I like the image. A vertical earthquake!

  • avatar Jerry Turner

    It looks like it came right out of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”!!!

  • avatar Sandy Rathborne

    I think it is the group of participants? Whatever, I like it. Love impressionistic and color. When I get bored waiting for something to happen with wildlife, I like to play around with this same type of blur.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I have no idea what they are. You said you panned upwards and it looks like a vertical pan. I tried to compress it vertically in my mind to see if I coujld produce anything I recognized, but that didn’t work. I find it pleasing, and wouldn’t change the composition.

  • I think our brains (well, ok, my brain!) likes to “make sense” of things. Isn’t that an interesting phrase: make sense? Because this IS sense, to me, meaning, sensory. I “see” these colorful tuning forks playing a rhythmic, pleasing melody line. So I look at this image and I “see” music, prompted by the tuning fork association. What did it start out as? Hmmm…sand fence painted in rainbow colors?

  • This is quite delightful. I have pondered for a while but cannot make a guess as to what/who the subject was before it/they became a very pleasing study in color movement!

  • Artie – I’ve done this with natural items, waterscapes, etc but never with people. Thinking outside of the box — that box just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

    And we’re having some early morning fog here in FL.

  • avatar Platon Nabokov

    I think this image would look better if the distant hills/horizon were horizontal and as they can’t be without making the main subject crooked, I am with Denny in recommending a 16:9 crop.

    And if all my hand held images looked this, I would be distinctly worried.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Platon. Please let us know why you would be distinctly worried if all of your images look like this.

      • avatar Platon

        Because it would mean that none of my images would be sharp or in focus Artie and although I like the occasional deliberate creative blur, having all my images blurred would be a problem for me.
        Wildlife and bird photography relies quite heavily on images being sharp so there would be little point in us investing in multi megapixel cameras and exotic lenses just to produce blurs. The bottom of a Coke bottle would do for that.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks for getting back to me Platon. First off, this image is accurately focused. Nearly all pleasing blurs are accurately focused. The blur here was intentional. For me, and for many others who commented after you, it is quite pleasing. Posting this image was intended to be though-provoking and I tremendously enjoyed many of the comments especially the “colorful tuning forks” comment by Eve Turek.

          As you see here on the blog most days, I am quite skilled at creating razor sharp images with hand held intermediate telephoto (and sometimes with super-telephoto) lenses. But there are times when I and many others enjoy being creative and thinking out of the box. And such images often do quite well in prestigious international contests.

          I am fine with folks who simply do not like blurs but there is really no need for your somewhat veiled nasty comments. You write, “Wildlife and bird photography relies quite heavily on images being sharp so there would be little point in us investing in multi megapixel cameras and exotic lenses just to produce blurs.” Is that a hard and fast rule of nature photography or your opinion? am

          • avatar Platon

            First off, I did not suggest the image wasn’t accurately focussed or that the blur was other than intentional. You were quite clear that the blur is intentional.
            I said that if all my images were blurred, I would be worried. So surely would be most photographers?
            Second off, I didn’t suggest you were not capable of making razor sharp images. You obviously are.
            Third off, I did not say I did not like blurs. I do.
            Fourth off, I did not say I did not like this image. I do.
            However, I made a suggestion for how it might be improved (16:9 crop) in response to your invitation to “Say what you want” and the question “Did you like this?” – in agreement with Denny.
            There was no ‘veiled nasty comment’, I was being perfectly straightforward. I repeat, if all we wanted to do was create blurs then there would be little point in buying equipment whose capabilities were way beyond the requirement to do that. A more modest camera and lens would serve just as well.
            And finally, yes, it is my opinion that “wildlife and bird photography relies quite heavily on images being sharp”. I did not say, or even imply, that was a hard and fast rule – just that those genres rely quite heavily on fulfilling those parameters. I don’t see much to disagree with in that statement?
            It seems therefore, that it’s only OK to ‘say what you like’, if it’s what you like.
            If posting this image was intended to be thought provoking, you shouldn’t be surprised or disparaging when people put forward the occasional thought.

            Platon. Thanks for your explanations. They do not, however, all hold water for me. For one, you clearly suggested that the posted image was not accurately focused. As I think that I explained elsewhere, your suggested crop would have ruined the image for me by eliminating the distant hills and destroying the compositional balance. As I said, I am fine with folks liking or not liking the images that I post. As I did and still do, I view both your and Denny’s comments as being made with a nasty intent. “If all my images looked like that, I’d be worried.” Please, give me a break. artie

          • avatar Platon

            No Artie, I did not clearly suggest that the posted image was not accurately focussed.
            I clearly said that “it would mean that none of my images would be sharp or in focus”.
            I was referring to my images, not yours.
            Whether my suggested crop would have ruined the image for you is immaterial. You ask for opinions but it seems you can tolerate no one’s opinion but your own. Contrary to what you say, you are clearly not fine with people not liking any image you post as you invariably disparage any view that disagrees with yours.
            As for nasty intent, I would suggest any nasty intent here lies in the eye of the beholder.
            And twisting the intent of what was said to make it seem nasty is nasty.
            “If all my images looked like that, I’d be worried” meant that if all my images were blurred, I would be worried. Wouldn’t you be?
            So give me a break and lighten up.

            Platon, You can wiggle all you want but this is clearly the gist of what you said: if all of my images looked like this (i.e., the posted image) I would be distinctly worried because it would mean that none of my images would be sharp or in focus. Your words. In addition, after I got in touch with you the first time you stated that you liked the image. If that is indeed true why wouldn’t you have mentioned that in your original comment? All things considered please give me a break and admit that it was your intent to be nasty. artie

          • avatar Platon

            No Artie, I am not a nasty person. You are just trying to turn me into one.

            Platon, I can only go by what you write. You never commented here before. You show up and post a comment with a suggestion and a negative that clearly suggested that the image in question was not accurately focused. Later you admit that you actually like the image. As I asked before, why was that fact omitted from your original comment? Good (honest but gentle) critiques–if you will-should include positives as well as negatives and suggestions. Yet you chose not to mention that you liked the image. It was your original comment that was nasty.

            You say that I only want to hear good stuff about what I post. If that were true, why did I not delete your comments and spam you? As to the latter, I give you points for remaining civil though you feel you have been wronged. I hope that you hang around and prove me wrong and turn out to be a really nice guy and an asset here. artie

          • avatar Platon

            OK I can do that but perhaps you might try being a little less forensic about every word a person uses and listen to the underlying meaning and spirit of what they are saying?

            That would be nice. I’d love for you to prove me wring. I publish thousands of words each week and have done so for many years. I try to do my best to accurately reflect exactly what I want to say, to avoid confusing folks, and to make things 100% understandable. So I do not think that I am asking a lot to when I ask that folks be careful with their words and their grammar and their meaning when they leave a two sentence comment 🙂 later and love, artie

            ps: yes, I am pedantic; it is my job.

  • avatar David Steele

    It’s your group, posing, and I quite like it!

  • avatar Denny

    Hey Artie, looks like most of my handheld images. Seriously, I don’t know what I think of it; how would you describe it? Impressionist? I don’t know. Just an observation; how about cropped to 16:9, taking out some of the top? Would it be breaking any hard and fast rules? I need to think about this one.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Denny, If you have to think about it, then you don’t like it. And that is fine. For me the image is impressionistic. And colorful. And beautiful. At first I thought that a pano crop would be a fine alternative, but in retrospect, that would eliminate the distant hills.

      The object here is to make folks think.

      From where I sit, if all of your hand held images look like this then you must be doing quite well. artie